Sadly the Architects' Journal is a subscription only site, so it's not possible to read the article. Couldn't see anything in the Standard online, but it might be worth drawing this to the attention of Mira Bar Hillel, their property correspondent, because she's probably got access. Didn't see a press release on the ODPM site either.
Anyway, the good news is that unless Southwark have changed their mind and are willing to sell Berkely the land, this horrible development won't get built anyway. The bad news is, if Prescott has approved tower blocks like this on the site, it will be easier for other developers/Southwark to propose another high rise development in the future.
The Planning Inquiry report into Ian Ritchie Architects' highly contentious scheme for the Potters' Field site next to Tower Bridge has recommended approval, the AJ has learnt.
The top-secret document - which is currently sitting on John Prescott's desk - urges the deputy prime minister to approve the scheme, made up of a cluster of ‘mini towers' on the south bank of the Thames.
The news will please both Ritchie and developer Barclay Homes, who have invested massive amounts of time and money in the project.
However, the inspector's report is no guarantee of success for the scheme. Prescott rarely rejects an inquiry recommendation but earlier this year he gave the green light to Broadway Malyan's Vauxhall Tower despite an inspector urging that it should be knocked back.
If the scheme does win the go ahead, it will see the construction of one of the largest residential projects on the Thames. It will also have a significant mixed-use element with other cultural, community and commercial elements.
Ritchie has long argued that the family of ‘thin, tapered 18-storey towers' would be completely sympathetic to the Shad Thames area of the capital.
Information that the inspector has come down on Ritchie's side will please CABE, which has actively supported the project in the past, but will devastate a host of conservationists that have campaigned to have the towers thrown out.
Among the detractors was English Heritage, which argued at the inquiry that the project would seriously damage the setting of both Tower Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral.
But perhaps the most passionate opposition to the scheme has come from within the local authority, Southwark council, which rejected the designs two years ago at planning committee (AJ 04.09.03).
In a savage report, the council's planners dismissed the scheme. ‘It is considered that the towers would unnecessarily compete with the elaborate detailing of Tower Bridge, the sleek lines of the Greater London Assembly and, to a lesser extent, the Tower of London,' the report said.
What Prescott wants Prescott gets, and financial incentives are no small part of the thing which everyone knows but of course no one can prove. I am SO SO disgusted with the whole fiasco of planning policy in this city I could puke. It is so thoroughly unsympathetic to any aspect of the environment, history, aesthetics ...anything..The only thing that counts is Mr. P's housing statistics.
Oh Miss Jackie, you mean to say that financial inducements are real? I always thought they were like Santa. I'm not sure how well known overseas his issue is ... I'm sure some well-connected admirers of Tower Bridge would have a fit if they knew what Mr Prescott appears to be rubber-stamping and Southwark Council will no doubt mysteriously see the advantages of.